New Models of Tertiary Education

The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate how trends in technology, internationalisation, population, tuition costs and demand for skills may drive changes in models of tertiary education. The Commission has now published an issues paper which outlines some questions the inquiry will consider over the next 12 months, describes the tertiary education system and trends influencing it, and seeks submissions to help the Commission develop its advice and recommendations.

The full list of questions is available as a Word document for easy submission also.

A separate discussion forum has been set up looking at each question individually. Some questions are listed as examples here: 

1. Do prospective students have good enough information to enable them to make informed choices about providers and courses? What additional information should be provided? Who should provide it?

2. How does competition for student enrolments influence provider behaviour? Over what attributes do providers compete? Do New Zealand providers compete with one another more or less than in other countries?

3. In what ways and to what extent do employers interact with tertiary providers in New Zealand? Are there practical ways to encourage employers to have greater or more productive involvement in the tertiary education system?

4. What are the implications of new technologies that are predicted to make many currently valuable skills obsolete? Will this change the role of the tertiary education system?

5. What new models of tertiary education are being implemented in universities, ITPs, PTEs and wānanga? How successful have they been?

6. What measures have been successful in improving access, participation, achievement and outcomes for Māori, Pasifika, at-risk youth, those with limited access to traditional campus-based provision, people with disabilities or adults with low levels of literacy or numeracy? What measures have been less successful? Why?

7. What are the barriers to innovation in the tertiary education system? What might happen if those barriers are lowered?

 This page is for quick comments rather than full formal submissions. We may use published comments in our reports to give a flavour of people's opinions and perceptions of various issues. Please note that this page is moderated and comments won't appear immediately. We welcome robust, respectful and insightful thoughts and ideas.


Techtorium is a small PTE based in Newmarket. It offers diploma courses from level 5 to level 7 with a range of taster courses for anyone interested in IT as a career. Techtorium has the highest student outcomes for an IT PTE in New Zealand and has had for the past several years. It is also the most modestly funded PTE by the TEC with only 28% of student being SAC funded. Students pay tuition fees on par with other institutes. It is not the most expensive option for students but based on the quality of education students enjoy it does give excellent value for spend.

Techtorium continues to enjoy category 1 status after recently going through its second EER. The evaluators commented that the delivery system to students was the most successful example of a modern learning environment that the evaluators has seen.

The very high student outcomes are equal across all ethnic groups with employment rates for Maori and Pasifika students being on par with all other ethnic groups. This was the case both before and after the delivery style changed to a modern or innovative environment. Students are accepted on course with a minimum of four years secondary and they must be at least 17 years of age. Some come with NCEA levels 1 - 3 and some don't. They must however show an interest in computers.

The success of this organisation is based on keeping the students at the centre of the organisation and also being very clear of the vocational focus. There is no apology for being vocational and the relationships with industry employers at some of the largest IT corporate companies is valued highly which supports the employment rate post course being around 90% and higher. These grads are highly valued by employers, saving them a great deal in recruitment costs. The pathways team match the skills and attributes of students with the requirements of employers.

The same degree of investment is put into pathwaying students into Techtorium as well so students and their caregivers will have experienced the environment prior to making the decision to enrol.

Everything students learn are directly related to industry demands and in a technology environment this changed quicky and continuously. There are no random papers inserted to justify the existence of the a particular faculty and there are no "certificate" courses introduced to enable the institute to "clip the ticket" more than is necessary. It is driven by industry demand and not the lecturers or the facultys interest that may be disconnected from the skills needed.

Soft skills are an integral component of a Techtorium students success and attributes such as ethics, punctuality, personal presentation and communication skills are rated as rigourosly as academic and technical skills. It's a whole student approach that a PTE of this nature can offer students so successfully.

Techtorium "sticks to the knitting". We have specialised in IT - it has been on the global skills shortage for many years, it is well paid and offers a very bright future for young people many of whom may be the first in their family to participate in tertiary study.

It is because Techtorium is a specialised PTE that can quickly respond to industry needs that students enjoy these successes.

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